‘New recruits will provide much-needed experience,’ says Buxton joint-boss Phillips

Buxton FC v Hednesford, joint manager Paul Phillips
Buxton FC v Hednesford, joint manager Paul Phillips

Buxton FC joint-manager Paul Phillips says new recruits Ashley Young and Gary Gee will add much-needed experience to the Silverlands dressing room.

Phillips and joint-boss Steve Halford have worked with the two midfielders before and believe they will also help them instill a winning mentality through the squad.

Young, 27, a former Ashton United player, has spent time in the Welsh Premier League of late with Aberystwyth Town, Bangor City as well as Rhyl FC.

While 30-year-old Gee, another former Ashton United man, has also played for Stalybridge Celtic among other clubs and Phillips is pleased to have both on board.

He said: “They’ve been with us before and been there and done it. We’ve got quite a few young lads so we wanted to add a bit more experience, which we thought we missed.

“We had Ricky (Ravenhill) and Greg (Young) last year but apart from that there wasn’t much experience in outfield areas so we thought it would be great to get those two on board.

“They know exactly what we want to be about. They bring a drive and energy and a willingness to win. We want a winning mentality and it gives us that on and off the pitch.

“Gaz (Gee) has been with us for the past five or six years and knows what we expect going into training and going into matches, knows where we set our standards.

“This will help spread that message through the dressing room.”

With the addition of two midfielders, Phillips and Halford were dealt a fresh headache following the possibility of Joe McGee relocating to Birmingham for work.

The Buxton management hope to come to an agreement to keep McGee, who has recently become a trained physio, at the club to complement their midfield department.

Overall Phillips is happy with the way the squad is shaping up ahead of pre-season training, which begins on Monday 2nd July, and hinted at further additions to come.

“We’re probably in front of where we want to be,” he said. “The players aren’t back for pre-season yet and we’ve already made some good progress.

“We’re speaking to one or two more players this week and we’ll see how the land lies. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about silly figures.

“But when it comes to the point of having nothing on the table then people get a bit more realistic.

“When pre-season training starts then you’ll see a different mentality from these lads.

“In any walk of life you’re going to try and get the best you can but at the moment in time there are a few people with unrealistic ideas of what they are worth.

“We’ll have to wait our time and go from there.”

Negotiations continue with front man Brad Grayson who has been the subject of a bid from National League North side Boston United.

Phillips said: “We’ve told Brad that we won’t let him go for nothing.

“Brad’s toing and froing as he didn’t play much last year and Liam (Hardy) will be our number one striker along with Ant Wilson at this moment in time.

“Brad’s still a member of our squad - it may change in the next 10 to 14 days depending on other personnel we can get in - but at the moment nothing has changed.

“We’ll have to see if we can reinforce that area before we let people go.”

Meanwhile there have been two new additions behind the scenes with Chris Appleton joining as goalkeeping coach and Sophie Lomax as head physiotherapist and rehabilitation.

“We’re trying to do everything as best as we can and as professionally as we can,” said Phillips.

“We’ve brought Sophie in, she’s been around the game and knows it well, and knows how we want to work and what she has to do.

“Chris Appleton is working on different things for us, as well as a goalkeeping coach he will be scouting and doing other things as well.

“They’re both good acquisitions and needed for us to move forward.”

The diggers have been in at Silverlands as well as the pitch has been taken up ready for the installation of the club’s new 4G surface.

And added: “The pitch won’t be finished until August 11th, which doesn’t leave us long to familiarise ourselves with the surface before the season starts on August 18th.

“I’m hoping everything goes to plan and we’re ready for then. We’ve asked for dispensation to play the first game away just in case we have any hiccups with the pitch going down.

“In any sport - cricket, football, tennis - you’ve got to get used to the surface. It’s a brand new 4G surface and lads are going to take a bit of time to acclimatise to it.”